Government 'reflects' on ruling to revoke ICC withdrawal

This comes particularly following the visit of Sudanese president Omar Bashir to Johannesburg in June 2015 to attend the 25th AU Summit despite an global warrant for his arrest issued by the ICC on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his alleged role in the Darfur conflict in 2009. The ICC issued a warrant for Bashir on counts of crimes against humanity, murder, torture, and rape, and other crimes over his alleged involvement in the Darfur genocide beginning in 2004.

In yet another stinging rebuke for the national executive's senior legal advisers, the High Court in Pretoria found that South Africa's hasty decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court was unconstitutional and therefore invalid.

Justice Minister Michael Masutha said the government would press ahead with withdrawing from the Hague-based tribunal, noting that the ruling was based largely on procedure - that the decision to pull out did not pass first through parliament.

South Africa, however, remains the heavyweight in the African mutiny against the ICC.

Mojapelo added that government decisions must be based on "the expressed authority of the constitution". "The postion is the one that we communicated to the general public and it is that Malawi, as a founding State Party, will remain and fight for reform in the ICC from within the ICC", said Kasaila. The court ordered President Jacob Zuma and the Ministries of Justice and Foreign Affairs to revoke the notice of withdrawal.

The court ruled that the withdrawal was unconstitutional and invalid.

Under the rules of the court's treaty, a withdrawal does not take effect until a year after a notice has been submitted to the United Nations.

In a boost for the ICC, however, Adama Barrow, the new democratically elected president of the Gambia, recently reversed that decision - made by Yahya Jammeh, the west African state's former authoritarian leader.

But if the government is eventually forced to go to Parliament for approval, it can expect a bruising battle. But the ANC, which has ruled South Africa since 1994 after the end of the Apartheid era, has shown signs of cracking under Zuma's scandal-plagued leadership.

South Africans leading the push said that obligations under the ICC clash with diplomatic immunity laws of sitting leaders and promotes "regime change".

South Africa's parliament began considering the ICC issue last month - three months after the government announced its withdrawal.